August 30th, 2010


Athol Mass Fungus Fair

Fourth Annual Fungus Fair, Saturday, September 18th  10:00am-5:00pm


Interested in mushrooms? The Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main St. Athol, Massachusetts is putting the fun into fungus again with its Fourth Annual Fungus Fair.
Respected mycologists from throughout the United States will be on hand to share their knowledge. There will be morning and afternoon expeditions into the local woods to identify and collect mushrooms. Authorities will give talks throughout the day on topics that include a general overview of fungi, beginner’s mushroom identification, the ever changing state of mushroom taxonomy, and easily identified edibles. At lunch time, enjoy a wild mushroom cook-up.  The inclusive cost for the day is $5; admission is free to members of Monadnock Mushroomers.


The schedule is as follows:

10:00 am Welcome
10:15 Morning Forays leave
10:30 Fantastic Fungi I Have Loved and Known with Rick Van de Poll

11:30 Beginners’ Mushroom Identification with Erin Page Blanchard

12:30 Get a taste of some wild fungi at the Mushroom Cook-up
1:00 pm Afternoon Forays leave
1:30   It’s Called What Now? Name changes in the DNA age with Noah Siegel

2:30   Common Edible & Poisonous Mushrooms: East vs. West with Debbie Viess

4:00   Table walk through, discussing the day's finds with Noah Siegel.


Speakers this year are:

Dr. Rick Van de Poll is the principal of Ecosystem Management Consultants (EMC) of Sandwich, New Hampshire, which has conducted natural resource inventories for the public and private sector of New England since 1985. Dr. Van de Poll has completed biological inventories on over 150,000 acres of land, and has recorded over 1200 mushrooms in New Hampshire, including a number of undescribed species. With a Masters in Mycology and Environmental Communications, he has taught Mycology at Antioch University New England for many years, and currently teaches Mycology as an adjunct faculty at Plymouth State University. He co-founded the Monadnock Mushroom Club in 1988, and founded the local Sandwich Area Mushroom (SAM) Club in 2001.

Erin Page Blanchard is studying the taxonomy and identification of fungi. She is an active member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF) and Bay Area Mycological Society (BAMS), and has been involved with other California Mycology Clubs in organizing and setting up events. Erin has identified fungi for the annual MSSF Fungus Fair, SDMS Fungus Fair, FFSC fungus Fair, Point Reyes Fungus Fair, Marin Mushroom Mania, Point Reyes MycoBlitz, and the UCB Fungal Survey of Yosemite. On the internet she moderates a message board for Mushroom Hunting and Identification. She consults wild crafted food businesses on mushroom identification, and has helped to organize and lead mushroom forays in the California Bay Area. She has worked with Dr. Else C. Vellinga doing DNA sequencing, and co-authored a poster presentation for the Mycological Society of America conference in 2009. Erin is currently part of a research effort directed by the UC Berkeley Mycology Department to identify and document species of fungi in Yosemite National Park.

Noah Siegel is a nationally known award-winning photographer and mushroom identifier. He is drawn to fungi by its wide variety and unsung nature. He is co-president and a walk leader for the Monadnock Mushroomers Unlimited in Keene, New Hampshire, and a trustee for the North East Mycological Federation. While mostly based in the northeastern U.S., he has also sought mushrooms out throughout the United States and Canada as well as New Zealand and Australia.

Debbie Viess is a California naturalist, writer, artist and obsessive mushroom hunter who enjoys sharing her love of mushrooms. She writes extensively about mushrooms, both online and in print, and gives humor-laced, beautifully illustrated, mushroom-flavored talks across the country. She is also the CoFounder of the Bay Area Mycological Society,, an art and science-centric mushroom club based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

(I went to this last year and it was fun.  I can't go this year, but I thought some of you might be interested.)